2023 ECHO Annual Meeting

Here is your opportunity to improve the lifestyle of living in the East Central Homeowners Organization area by volunteering to serve on the ECHO Board of Directors. The Board of Directors’ goals are neighborhood updates and meeting our wonderful neighbors.

The annual meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, October 24, 2023 at 7 p.m. at the Community Room of Nichols Library.

This year has been our most successful in social activities. The Social Committee’s Friday Happy Hour has seen attendance of twenty-five to forty carefree members enjoying conversation and refreshments. The first Happy Hour was May 19th then June 10th followed by July 27th, August 18th and September 15th. Our final Happy Hour of the year is October 20th. The ECHO Street Block Party on September 9th was well attended with delicious Mexican catered food and a live band.

The Civic Affairs Committee is working with Heritage Place and DJK builders to address ECHO concerns. The committee is also working with the City and keeping ECHO updated on LED streetlights, tree trimming, the safety of power lines and the replacement of all lead pipe water service lines.

VOLUNTEER by contacting Jim Wills – Chairperson Nominating Committee:
Jim Wills, 18 S. Loomis St – Email: wills.jim@juno.com – Tel: 630-696-7172

Lead pipes within ECHO – 2023 update

Many homes within ECHO were originally constructed with a lead water service line leading from the water main to the connection point inside the home. While most of these have been replaced as part of a remodeling or teardown project, hundreds of lead service lines remain in place throughout our neighborhood and those nearby. Having a lead service line does not necessarily mean you will have lead in your water, but it does indicate that you may be at greater risk if your lead service line is disrupted. The City of Naperville’s water supply remains safe and tests below minimum acceptable lead levels. However, the EPA continues to state that there is no safe level of exposure to lead.

The Illinois Lead Service Line Replacement and Notification Act took effect January 1, 2022. As a result of this legislation, the City of Naperville must replace all remaining lead water service lines by 2035. The City has applied for a loan through the Illinois EPA Public Water Supply Loan Program in order to accelerate this work. If funds are allocated through this program, the City intends to replace all remaining lead water service lines between 2024 and 2027. This work would be performed at no cost to homeowners.

After the passage of water protection legislation in 2016, the City was required to create a lead service line inventory. A searchable online map has been created to show whether a home is known to have a lead service line, viewable at https://naperville-echo.org/leadpipemap

If you have a lead water service line and want to replace it sooner, the City of Naperville offers a Lead Rebate Program! Up to $4,250 is available to a homeowner upon completion of lead service line replacement. For more information, visit https://naperville-echo.org/leadpipes or call the City at (630) 420-4122.

2022 ECHO annual meeting

The ECHO annual meeting will be held Monday, October 24 at 7pm in the Community Room at Nichols Library, 200 W. Jefferson Ave. A board election will be held; nominations for board positions will be taken from the floor. Minor updates to the bylaws will be on the agenda for approval. Becky Simon from Naperville Preservation, Inc. will be speaking to residents about historic preservation matters. ECHO will provide details about the new Historic District banners scheduled for installation in November. There will also be an opportunity to discuss additional items of interest to residents.

(This event is not endorsed by or affiliated with the Naperville Public Library.)

2021 ECHO annual meeting

Join your neighbors for the ECHO annual meeting! We will begin the process of an election for board members and discuss neighborhood issues. Councilwoman Jennifer Bruzan Taylor will be in attendance for a membership discussion regarding traffic, transportation, and other matters involving our neighborhood.

The meeting will be held via Zoom webinar on Thursday, October 8 at 7pm. Advance registration is required. Register by clicking this link.

Lead pipes within ECHO

Many homes within ECHO were originally constructed with a lead water service line leading from the water main to the connection point inside the home. While most of these have been replaced as part of a remodeling or teardown project, dozens of lead service lines remain in place throughout our neighborhood and those nearby. Having a lead service line does not necessarily mean you will have lead in your water, but it does indicate that you may be at greater risk if your lead service line is disrupted. The City of Naperville’s water supply remains safe and tests below minimum acceptable lead levels. However, the EPA continues to state that there is no safe level of exposure to lead.

In May 2021, the Illinois General Assembly passed HB 3739, the Lead Service Line Replacement and Notification Act. This bill has been sent to the Governor and is expected to become law this summer. In preparation for compliance, the City of Naperville is performing additional research and planning. After the Act is signed and becomes effective, it will require all lead service lines within Naperville to be replaced within 15 years, with a minimum of 7% replaced each year (20-24 homes). In nearly all cases, the entire service line must be replaced.

Generally, lead service line replacement will take place at the same time water mains are replaced. City staff are expected to propose a standalone lead service replacement program for areas not scheduled for water main replacement, subject to approval by City Council.

After the passage of water protection legislation in 2016, the City was required to create a lead service line inventory. The City has recently learned that lead water service lines were not prohibited in Naperville until 1960; originally, the local prohibition was thought to have taken place in 1930. A searchable online map has been created to show whether a home is known to have a lead service line, viewable at https://naperville-echo.org/leadpipemap 

To view the recent City Manager’s Memorandum with more details on HB 3739 and the City’s plans to comply, visit https://naperville-echo.org/leadpipememo

The City of Naperville offers a Lead Rebate Program! Up to $4,250 is available to a homeowner upon completion of lead service line replacement. For more information, visit https://naperville-echo.org/leadpipes or call the City at (630) 420-4122.

Holiday luminaria event

ECHO is organizing a holiday luminaria event for New Year’s Eve! Please see the full invitation letter and order form below. Orders are due Monday, November 30.

https://www.naperville-echo.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/ECHO-luminaria-letter-2020.pdf

2020 ECHO annual meeting

Join your neighbors for the ECHO annual meeting! We will begin the process of an election for board members and discuss neighborhood issues.

The meeting will be held via Zoom webinar on Thursday, October 8 at 7pm. Advance registration is required. Register by clicking this link.

Minor amendments to the ECHO bylaws will be proposed at the meeting. This is a summary of the changes:

  • Change the name of the association to East Central Homeowners Organization to be consistent with our legal registration as an Illinois Not-For-Profit Corporation
  • Allow dues paid in the fourth quarter of a calendar year to include membership for the following calendar years
  • Provide flexibility for the fiscal year to be the period between annual meetings
  • Clarify that the number of board members should be an odd number to facilitate reaching majority votes, with one-half and an even number elected in odd-numbered years, and one-half and an odd number elected in even-numbered years
  • To further the interests of the neighborhood, ECHO participates in public meetings of governmental and other civic organizations. To avoid having to change the bylaws each time the name of a government or civic organization changes, the detailed list of organizations was removed.

Position on Heritage Place to be presented to the Planning and Zoning Commission

ECHO is a group of residents whose purpose is to preserve the residential community atmosphere and character of our neighborhood. Further, ECHO supports the promotion and protection of the historical properties within its boundaries. The officially designated Naperville Historic District lies within the boundaries of ECHO. This District has special legal protections, designed to ensure its continuance as an historic neighborhood.

We do not support the conditional use for townhomes in the R2 zoning district. We also do not support the variance requests for lot area, front yard setback, and height to exceed the maximum number of stories.

ECHO distributed a survey in mid-August to seek feedback from our residents regarding this development proposal and what they value most about living in or near the Historic District. 94% of those responding do not support this development as proposed.

Survey respondents support the inclusion of a park and green space. The park provided within this development would be significantly larger than the former College Park, which was removed from the site earlier this year. The respondents also support the rear-loading garages of the townhome units, which are in keeping with the character of our neighborhood.

The most significant concerns from our residents are density and the proposal not fitting in with the neighborhood. The clear preference from our residents is to have single-family homes built on this site, which exists in the heart of a predominantly single-family neighborhood. The proposed density, when combined with reduced setbacks, are not in keeping with the character of the Historic District and the greater ECHO neighborhood.

In making the case for the conditional use and zoning variances, the petitioner repeatedly cites the current intense use of the property in comparison to the proposed use as the primary factor why the standards for a zoning variance are met. While the proposed use of the property would be less intense than the current use in terms of traffic and number of persons typically onsite, it does not necessarily follow that the proposed redevelopment will not be a substantial detriment to adjacent property. 39-foot buildings with reduced front yard setbacks are a substantial change from the current site conditions and are intense in their own right. The present peak use of this site is limited to a few hours each weekday during pickup and drop-off periods. Conversion to a high-density residential use makes the site more active during times when it is currently unoccupied.

Minimum lot area is effectively the density requirement for the R2 zoning district. The original plan submission with 47 units consisted of 12.4 units per acre. The most recent change with the reduction of two units barely reduces this, to 11.9 units per acre. City planning documents generally consider low-density residential to be less than 2.5 units per acre, and high-density residential to be more than eight units per acre. As noted in the City staff report for the HPC meeting, decreasing the number of townhome units to 41 would eliminate the need for this variance request.

Front yard setbacks vary throughout the Historic District. However, the vast majority of the homes throughout the District are in compliance with the 25-foot front yard setback and the 15-foot corner side yard setback. There are very few examples of reduced setbacks in the blocks surrounding this property. Homes with front yard setbacks less than 25 feet are much more common on the blocks to the west of North Central College, including those along Center and Ellsworth Streets.

Finally, the petitioner makes their argument for the height variance based on other developments which have come to market with rooftop decks. The zoning code defines practical difficulties or hardships as those not generally found on other properties within the zoning district. Zoning variances are typically granted when there is a hardship related to existing conditions on the lot. To put it simply, competitive disadvantage is not a zoning-related hardship.

60% of our residents indicated that their top reason for choosing to live in or near the Historic District is for the look and feel of the neighborhood. If this development proposal is not economically viable with units reduced and setbacks compliant with zoning code, ECHO submits that the demolition of Kroehler Mansion may be a better long-term solution for preserving the character of the neighborhood while permitting respectful new construction.

We appreciate the communication from the attorney for the petitioner, and we thank the Planning and Zoning Commission for its time and service to the community.